Pha Poak is a small limestone hill located to the west of town, visible from the western banks of the Nam Song thanks to a flag on top. Climbing Pha Poak is a popular activity for many who visit Vang Vieng and it’s an easy walk to the base though more difficult climb to the summit.
It’s a 30-minute climb from the base of the hill to the summit. The path is steep with sharp jagged rocks, making the going quite tough, especially when wearing flip-flops — shoes are highly recommended. Along the way you encounter makeshift ladders built from bamboo and wood, which aid in the climb but they can be unnervingly rickety.
From the top of Pha Poak the views are sensational, with the entire town of Vang Vieng on one side and the dramatic karst mountains on the other. Getting back down the mountain is in some ways as difficult as the climb up and having long legs is an advantage when negotiating the large cumbersome rocks.
For some this climb will be impossible, for others it’ll be a walk in the park. For most it’ll be a medium-difficulty climb ensuring sore legs the next day, and a worthy excursion.